McLaren extends relationship with Intelligent Money British GT Championship for a fifth season

3 Mar 2020

  • A record 12 entries running with McLaren Customer Racing, doubling the number on the grid from 2019
  • 720S GT3 and 570S GT4 to contest Silver and ProAm classes across both GT3 and GT4 championships
  • McLaren 720S returns as official Safety Car

McLaren Automotive will once again be represented on the highly-competitive Intelligent Money British GT grid, as it is confirmed that a total of 12 McLaren entries will contest the GT3 and GT4 championships during the 2020 season. This will be the strongest-ever showing for the British brand with eight examples of the 570S GT4 battling for GT4 honours, while an expanded grid of GT3 cars will see teams battling for both ProAm honours and, for the first time, the Silver class championship. The grid will also be led by McLaren for the fifth successive season as the 720S Safety Car returns to action.

The 720S Safety Car will manage and co-ordinate all on-track activities at each of the nine races, leading a record 34-car grid, with one-third made up of McLaren Customer Racing teams. This announcement further strengthens the relationship between McLaren Automotive and the SRO-run series which now enters a fifth year.

720S GT3 to challenge for ProAm and Silver titles

In the GT3 championship, Balfe Motorsport returns with the 720S GT3 for a second season and an unchanged ProAm line-up from 2019 of Shaun Balfe and McLaren Factory Driver Rob Bell. The pair are looking to pick up where they left off last season, having scored a race victory at the season finale at Donington Park to secure third in the championship.

Two new Customer Racing teams will also take to the British GT grid fielding the 720S GT3 for the first time in 2020. Championship regulars, and reigning GT3 Silver class champions, Optimum Motorsport confirmed a switch to McLaren over the winter and the Wakefield-based team will run with Australian driver pairing Nick Foster and Martin Berry, who are both new to the series. Completing the McLaren Customer Racing GT3 runners and riders is the newly-established 2 Seas Motorsport with a two-car entry both battling for Silver class honours. Angus Fender will share with McLaren GT4-race winner Dean MacDonald for one entry, while Championship debutant Isa Al-Khalifa has been confirmed in the second car. His driving partner is expected to be confirmed in the coming days.

Biggest ever McLaren presence on the GT4 grid

The GT4 class within the Intelligent Money British GT championship continues to grow in stature, and the grid gains strength each year with 2020 being no different. This season sees no less than eight examples of the 570S GT4 confirmed for the full season calendar battling for outright GT4 championship honours, with entries in the Silver and ProAm classes.

Leading the GT4 charge will be Tolman Motorsport as the team returns for the season with a two-car entry wearing striking new liveries. The 2019 GT4 championship runners-up will once again line up with the newly selected McLaren Automotive Driver Development Programme (DDP) drivers. Now entering its third season, the DDP continues to nurture young motorsport talent, and this year has expanded the reach of the programme beyond the UK with international drivers representing Australia, North America and Switzerland. It has now been confirmed that Michael Benyahia and Alain Valente will be paired up in the number #4 570S GT4, while Harry Hayek will race alongside Katie Milner in the number #5.

After confirming a move to join McLaren Customer Racing earlier this year which will see Optimum Motorsport run the 720S GT3 in both the GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and Intelligent Money British GT Championship, the team will also contest the domestic championship’s GT4 class with Pure McLaren GT Series graduates Brendan Iribe and Nick Moss partnering with professionals Ollie Millroy and James Pickford in two ProAm entries. The four drivers have previously raced together, clinching victory at the Gulf 12 Hours at the close of the 2019 season.

In parallel to a two-car entry in the GT4 European Series, HHC Motorsport returns to the British GT Championship running with a pair of 570S GT4s for a second season. After winning the opening round of 2019, the team will be looking to make another immediate impact on the championship with a double Silver class entry. Gus Bowers and Chris Wesemael both make a step up to GT4 competition and debut in the series. The driver line-up for second car will be confirmed in due course. 

Completing the line-up of McLaren Customer Racing GT4 entries is Balfe Motorsport, bringing the total number of entries for the McLaren brand on the grid to a record 12. McLaren Professional Driver Michael O’Brien partners with Graham Johnson for a second season, while the first racing commitment since his appointed as Factory Driver will see Euan Hankey racing alongside double-Pure McLaren GT Series champion Mia Flewitt who makes a return to the British GT championship for her first full season.

“British GT’s official Safety Car partnership with McLaren Automotive enters its fifth season this year, extending one of the championship’s longest-running associations. We’re delighted to have the 720S - likely to be the world’s most capable Safety Car - leading our supercar pack to the start of every round once again, while the manufacturer’s GT3 and GT4 models make up one-third of this year’s full-season entry. We’re very proud that such an iconic British brand continues to have a high-profile presence in one of the UK’s biggest motorsport series.”
Lauren Granville, Intelligent Money British GT Championship Manager 

Intelligent Money British GT Championship 2020 – confirmed entries for McLaren Customer Racing teams:

720S GT3 : GT3 championship – ProAm

Balfe Motorsport:          
#22 – Shaun Balfe (GBR), Rob Bell (GBR)

Optimum Motorsport:  
#68 – Martin Berry (AUS), Nick Foster (AUS)

720S GT3 : GT3 championship – Silver

2 Seas:               
#09 – Isa Al-Khalifa (BAH), TBC
#10 – Angus Fender (GBR), Dean MacDonald (GBR)

570S GT4 : GT4 championship – ProAm

Balfe Motorsport:          
#20 – Graham Johnson (GBR), Michael O’Brien (GBR)
#21 – Mia Flewitt (SWE), Euan Hankey (GBR)

Optimum Motorsport:  
#27 – Nick Moss (GBR), James Pickford (GBR)
#88 – Brendan Iribe (USA), Ollie Millroy (GBR)

570S GT4 : GT4 championship – Silver

Tolman Motorsport:      
#4 – Michael Benyahia (USA), Alain Valente (SUI)
#5 – Harry Hayek (AUS), Katie Milner (GBR)

HHC Motorsport:           
#57 – Gus Bowers (GBR), Chris Wesemael (GBR)
#58 – TBC, TBC 

______________

Ends

Notes to editors:

A selection of high resolution images accompanying this release is available to download from the McLaren Automotive media site – cars.mclaren.press 

About McLaren Automotive:

McLaren Automotive is a creator of luxury, high-performance supercars.

Every vehicle is hand-assembled at the McLaren Production Centre (MPC) in Woking, Surrey, England.

Launched in 2010, the company is now the largest part of the McLaren Group.

The company’s product portfolio of GT, Supercar, Motorsport and Ultimate models are retailed through over 85 retailers in more than 32 markets around the world.

McLaren is a pioneer that continuously pushes the boundaries. In 1981, it introduced lightweight and strong carbon fibre chassis into Formula 1 with the McLaren MP4/1.

Then in 1993  it designed and built the McLaren F1 road car - the company has not built a car without a carbon fibre chassis since. As part of the Ultimate Series, McLaren was the first to deliver a hybrid hypercar, the McLaren P1™.

Announced at Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2018, the company’s Track25 business plan will see it invest £1.2billion in research and development to deliver 18 new cars or derivatives by the end of 2025.

In 2018, the company launched its new £50m McLaren Composites Technology Centre in the Sheffield region in the North of England that will see it produce the next generation of lightweight carbon fibre ‘tubs’ that are at the heart of all McLaren cars.

2019 saw McLaren launch the 600LT Spider as well as the new GT, the track-only Senna GTR and unveiled the 620R and the McLaren Elva.

To support the development, engineering and manufacture of its range of innovative sportscars and supercars, McLaren Automotive partners with world leading companies to provide specialist expertise, technology and solutions. These include AkzoNobel, Ashurst, Dell Technologies, OnePlus, Pirelli,  Richard Mille, and Tumi.

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Further information:

Piers Scott
Global Communications & PR Director | McLaren Automotive Limited
Phone:+44 (0) 1483 241380
Mobile: +44 (0) 7387548837
Email: piers.scott@mclaren.com 

Paul Chadderton
Global Product Communications & PR Manager | McLaren Automotive Limited
Phone:+44 (0) 1483 261500
Mobile: +44 (0) 7990 776749
Email: paul.chadderton@mclaren.com

Dave Eden
Global Communications, Commercial & Brand Manager, Motorsport | McLaren Automotive Limited
Phone: +44 (0) 1483 262867
Mobile: +44 (0) 7500 857089
E-mail: dave.eden@mclaren.com

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